Roasted Beet Salad

22 Jul

I’ve been a fan of the beets for as long as I can remember…

thebeets

COME ON, Killer Tofu was one of the greatest hits of my childhood.

But seriously, beets.

Beets

My favorite way to prepare beets is to roast them (here is my go-to recipe).  This time, though, when the beets came out of the oven I tossed them in balsamic vinegar instead of of apple cider vinegar and knew they belonged on a bed of arugula and spinach.

Roasted-Beet-Salad-Goat-Cheese-Pecans-Arugula-Spinach

I added in a bit of crumbled goat cheese, toasted pecans, and my favorite balsamic dressing.  Seriously easy, meatless, and delicious!

My Favorite Balsamic Dressing:

  • 3 T. balsamic
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • scant 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste

Whisk together the balsamic, garlic, and Dijon mustard together.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste.

Training Overview #sftsRUNS

21 Jul

Welcome to today’s 10K Training Overview!  This is a weekly accidentally sporadic series in which I document my weekly accidentally sporadic running progress, nutrition, photos, and mileage as I train for Pittsburgh’s 2014 Great Race on September 28th.  If you are on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – you can also follow along using the hashtag #sftsRUNS.   These overviews are intended not only for me as a way to document my fitness journey, but also as a means to inspire other newbie runners who are ready to move beyond the 5K distance.

Training-Overview-SFTSRuns

Weekly Overview:

As with everything I set my mind to, I got a little distracted.  HEY!  I’m an Aries!  Give me a break!  I’ve been running, working out, and eating clean but I haven’t been following my set training plan.  At all.  It felt fake to come here and try to BS my way through an update with what amounts to fluff.  Something has gone awry in training land, but I am determined to get myself back on track!

Weight Change:

My weight loss goal is 150 lbs.  By August, my goal is to be down to 175 lbs.  When I began this training cycle, I weighted 192.7 and I am happy to report that this morning I weighed in at 186.7!  That’s a -6 lb. weight loss since the beginning of June.  I am thrilled – that is about a pound per week!  190 was a plateau that I just couldnotbreakthrough.  I’m so excited to see my progress with a more regular cardio regimen.

Physical Condition:

This past Sunday, I biked downtown (22.56 miles roundtrip) to participate in some FREE yoga in Market Square.  It was gorgeous and so much fun!  Seriously, how beautiful is Pittsburgh?  Ugh…I love it so hard.  My body is completely sore in so many different places from yoga, which of course makes me want to go back every Sunday.  Loved it and hey! you can’t beat the price of free.

yoga-in-the-square-open-streets-pittsburgh

Mental Condition:

I’ve honestly fallen into another one of my “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” slumps and have been lacking any and all motivation to regularly work out.  My body has been itching for physical activity, I’ve just got to get my mind back on board.  I’ll get there. :(

Nutrition:

My clean eating has been my only salvation lately.  The FB challenge group I belong to has helped with this exponentially!  Also, not buying junk food has helped.  I did fall off the wagon once over the weekend, but that’s only because I’m making it my own personal mission to keep the fro-yo place down at the Waterfront in business!  Every night I say a prayer that it will survive what so many other ice cream related shoppes could not.  PS – I don’t even feel bad for eating this because the topping is mostly fruit and the total was less than $3.00.  That’s basically imaginary fro-yo in my book.  ALSO, I absolutely hated the bottom flavor (french toast – it 100% tasted like a Yankee candle) so I didn’t even eat half the yogurt.

fro-yo-cheating

Non-Mileage Training (but still running related):

This has been the majority of what I’ve been doing.  Oops!  Lots of biking and walking, a little yoga, and a little running.

Impact On Real Life:

Clean eating has changed my metabolism and it’s really starting to pay off.  Seeing results without actually putting in much effort is huge and it makes me want to push myself this week.  I will get more results if I put it more work!  The only thing holding me back from being the person I want to be is ME.

Action Plan:

This week I need to stick to my training plan and get in all my miles.  I need to get back on track with running and I’m looking forward to more yoga on Sunday :)

 

3 Healthy Options From My Week

20 Jul

It’s time for another round-up of healthy options from my week!  These posts are as much for me to remember my good ideas as they are for you to feel inspired to try your own clean meals.  Despite the cooler temps this week, I definitely fell off the fitness wagon.  Hard.  Possibly broke a limb and was dragged behind the wagon – that’s how bad it was.  When you are being dragged behind the fitness wagon by your broken ankle, I strongly recommend taking a look behind you and trying to spot something positive back there.  The good news for me is that I’ve stayed pretty focused on eating clean. Now if only I could figure out a way to have a good fitness AND food week at the same time…

Anyway, here are 3 healthy options from my week:

1.

Copycat-Panera-Chicken-Hummus-Power-Bowl

I love Panera, but I love control over what goes into my body more.  Solution?  DIY duh.  I of course made up my own thing based on what I had on hand but the thing that makes it “copcat” for me is the hummus instead of dressing.  I mean, who knew?  I may have had this salad every day this week – grilled chicken with Essence of Emeril seasoning, feta, sunflower seeds, chopped red peppers, and cilantro-jalapeno hummus from the Greek Gourmet.  It’s like a farmer’s market in my mouth.  As far as I’m concerned, I may never use dressing again.  This particular hummus is all I need.

2.

Baked-Asparagus-Fries

I found this recipe over on Just A Taste and have made them several times now.  I haven’t been disappointed!  The asparagus don’t get mushy or soft like they normally do because of the light breading.  They are so easy to make, too!  I subbed plain Greek yogurt in for the mayo in both the breading and the garlic aioli.  Seriously, how did I not know about these a hundred years ago?

3.

sun-dried-tomato-chicken-salad

This one was kind of a happy accident.  I had about 2 cups of shredded chicken left over from various meal prepping during the week and I also had some sun-dried tomato “mayo” that I had made as a condiment for burgers LAST week (1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt + 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped + 4 large basil leaves + 1 t. lemon juice + salt/pepper).

At the last minute, I threw the 2 together with some feta and lettuce on one of these wraps from La Tortilla Factory:

La-Tortilla-Factory-100-Calorie-Tortillas

“Each wrap contains 20g of whole grains and 200mg of Omega 3 fatty acids with 8g of fiber and only 1.5g of fat {via}”


 

What are some of your go-to healthy options for the week?

What toppings are on your favorite salad?

 

Friday Five: Five Friday Favorites

18 Jul

It’s Friday!!!   TGIF, right?  This week felt like it was dragging on because I’ve got some fun things happening this weekend including checking out Open Streets in Downtown Pittsburgh on Sunday.  There is supposed to be outdoor yoga in Market Square, along with spinning, dodgeball, rock climbing, biking, and more!  See you there?

This week’s Friday Five linkup (an awesome weekly event hosted by Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC, Mar @ Mar On The Run, and Cynthia @ You Signed Up For What!) is themed: Five Friday Favorites.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday-Five-Friday-Favorites-7-18-14


julie-chen-but-first

1.  Stay classy, Chen.  My first favorite thing right now is Big Brother!  I am obsessed with this show and I absolutely cannot get enough of it – and Fridays mean I’m still riding the happiness wave of BB Thursday nights.  Which works out because it’s on 3 times a week and there are 24/7 live feeds.  I think I would be an incredible player, but I would never audition.  I prefer to spend my time out of the spotlight whenever I can!    Let me tell you that this season is 109358092385 x infinity better than last season.  It helps that my brother has recently discovered the show so we are able to text about it constantly.  My favorite player right now is Derrick, who is playing a very smart, strategic game.  I would love to see the undercover cop take the whole thing!  Plus that voice/accent is sexilicious.

KaleChips

2.  My favorite food habit lately is GREENS.  All of the greens.  On Fridays, I’m planning out what to grab at the weekend farmer’s markets and I have been burning through greens faster than I ever thought possible!  I’ve been alternating spinach, arugula, carrot greens, kale, and chard between my smoothies.  I just read that you can even use cabbage in your smoothie!  The chard freaked me out enough this morning that I think that’s enough adventure for this week.  Of course I will always have a deep, unhealthy addiction to homemade kale chips.  I just cannot get enough of their salty crunchy goodness.  I think I ate a salad every day for lunch this week and I want more more more!!!!

bright-side

3.  My favorite state of mind for Friday and of lately is happiness.  I am not a naturally positive person, but I’ve learned that practicing positivity improves my attitude.  I am learning to forgive quickly and look for the good in every situation.  In moments when I’m feeling frustrated, sad, or angry I force myself to take a deep breath and be thankful for the frustration, sadness, or anger.  It is a blessing to be alive and to have the opportunity to go through such trying times.  My life isn’t that bad and I’m not that ungrateful of a person to take any of this for granted.  Besides, life is too short to be miserable all the time!  Negative emotions can be healthy, but I now place a time limit on them.  Think NBA shot clock-length time limit.  Seriously, it’s not worth my energy.

{via}

{via}

4. Fridays mean a touch up on the fingers and toes so I can be presentable for weekend festivities!  My favorite nail polish of the week ok, probably the whole summer is Play Date by Essie.  It reminds me of the Pantone 2014 Color of the Year “Radiant Orchid,” which I adore but would never actually paint my walls.  Bonus points for making even the pastiest of us look somewhat tan.  Happiness in a bottle!  But without all the guilt of tequila.

Zoku-Popsicle-Classic-Molds

5.  My favorite thing I’m looking forward to this weekend is experimenting with some homemade popsicles!  I feel like a little kid on Christmas with these, but I’ve been accumulating recipes on a Pinterest board devoted to popsicles/smoothies for months now and no molds.   I love the idea of using organic, local, fresh ingredients and making a healthy summertime treat.   I can’t wait to share some of the keepers with you guys!

If you’re into smoothies, check back next week because I’ve got a sweet giveaway coming up!

 

 


I hope you enjoyed this Friday Five linkup, please check out any of the host blogs for the full link-up directory!!

Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Zucchini Boats

17 Jul

chicken-spinach-stuffed-zucchini-boats

 


Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Zucchini Boats (inspired by Skinny Taste)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. shredded sun-dried tomato fontina
  • 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 c. pesto
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. pasta/marinara sauce
  • salt-free Ms. Dash Italian seasoning

Prepare the chicken stuffing by browning the chicken in 1 T. olive oil over medium heat.  When the chicken is browned, season it with 1 t. of Italian seasoning and incorporate well.  Then, add in the sun-dried tomato, the basil, and the spinach.  When the spinach is almost wilted, add in the garlic.  When the garlic is fragrant, stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese and basil.  Combine and keep everything on a low heat while you prepare the zucchini.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Slice the zucchini  in half longways, then scoop out the middle of each “boat” to create a cavity.  You will want to leave about 1/4″ around the outside to keep the “boat” sturdy.  Add the zucchini to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute, then remove from water.   Spread 2 T. of pasta sauce on bottom of baking dish, then place zucchini skin side down in the sauce.  This will keep it from burning on the bottom.  Spoon the chicken mixture over the zucchini boats, then top with 1/4 c. remaining shredded cheese.  Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes at 350*F.

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